During the physical exam of a baby suspected of having
cerebral palsy, the health professional will:
Measure the size of the baby's head with a tape
measure. The size is compared with a chart listing the expected head size for
the baby's age and weight.
Check the baby's body for physical
signs of cerebral palsy, such as a stiff, rigid position or a loose, floppy
position. Health professionals also look for muscles that don't relax and
Evaluate the baby's ability to move the arms,
legs, and body.
Determine if the baby has any shakiness (tremors)
of the arms and legs.
Watch to see if the baby uses only one hand
to reach for things.
Test the baby's reflexes (body movements that
are not under a person's control) to evaluate the nervous system. Temporary
(primitive) reflexes, such as throwing up the arms when startled, continue
longer in children with cerebral palsy, often lasting into their adult
How this information was developed to help you make better health decisions.